College Alumni Recognized at Virginia Veterinary Conference

Alumni of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine made a very strong showing at the 2015 Virginia Veterinary Conference held at the Hotel Roanoke in late February.

Pictured are (l-r) Dr. Melinda McCall (DVM ’04), new VVMA vice president; Dr. Bill Tyrrell (DVM ’92), recipient of the Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year Award; Dr. Doug Graham (DVM ‘98), recipient of the Veterinary Service Award; and Dr. Katie Rohrig (DVM ’09), recipient of the Recent Graduate Leadership Award.

Dr. Bill Tyrrell (DVM ’92) of Leesburg, Virginia, was named the Distinguished Virginia Veterinarian. After graduation, he spent four years in small animal practice in Northern Virginia, where he became fascinated with cardiology and echocardiography. He then began a cardiology residency program at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

“The Distinguished Virginia Veterinarian Award is given to an individual who, by his/her actions, bring recognition to veterinary medicine in Virginia,” said Dr. Peggy Rucker, current president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA). “Bill has been a tireless champion for the VVMA and is always working to build support for both our organization as well as others. He continues to serve our profession in many ways and was instrumental in the formation and development of the Potomac Regional Veterinary Conference. He now serves as our Alternate Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association.”

Tyrrell completed his residency credentials with Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates and achieved Diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in the College of Cardiology in 1999. He is a past president of the VVMA, Northern Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and the Virginia-Maryland College of Vet Med Alumni Society. His primary research interests lie in giant breed cardiomyopathy etiology, genetics, and cardiac biomarkers.

Dr. Brett VanLear (DVM ’96) was recognized for his service to the Alumni Board.

Tyrrell sees patients primarily at The LifeCentre in Leesburg, Virginia and at CARE Veterinary Center in Frederick, Maryland. He is also one of the principal owners of CVCA- Cardiac Care for Pets and helps operate their ten offices throughout Virginia and Maryland.

Dr. Doug Graham (DVM ‘98) of Blacksburg, Virginia, was the recipient of the VVMA Veterinary Service Award. Graham works at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and oversees referring practitioner relations. He was recognized for making a significant difference in the relationship between referring veterinarians and the college's veterinary teaching hospital. “He listened to our challenges with the referral process and impacted the way both the clients, as well as the referring veterinarians, are now managed,” noted Dr. Peggy Rucker. Graham was also honored for his work in providing valuable continuing education programs throughout Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland and serving as the liaison to regional veterinary medical associations.

The Recent Graduate Leadership Award was presented to Danville, Virginia’s Dr. Katie Rohrig (DVM ’09) for her contributions to the profession through service to the VVMA. Formerly Katie Rigney, she graduated from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009 but she actually started her veterinary career much earlier. At the age of 16, she was working in the kennel of Mount Hermon Animal Clinic, where she has worked full-time since her graduation from veterinary school. She was recognized for helping to organize the newly formed SouthSide Veterinary Medical Association and is now serving on the VVMA Board of Directors as its representative.

Dr. Claudia True (DVM ’86), pictured with third-year DVM student and mentee Allie McMillion, was named Mentor of the Year.

Alumna Dr. Claudia True (DVM ’86) of Ashland, Virginia, was named VVMA Mentor of the Year. A former VVMA president, True was nominated by mentee Allie McMillion, a third-year veterinary student at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. McMillion expressed how she admired True for her ability to balance work and family, for her determination in the face of challenges in life, her contributions to organized veterinary medicine, and her passion for her job and patients while fostering deep and trusting veterinary-client relationships.

True specializes in equine preventive medicine and dentistry at Woodside Equine Clinic in Ashland. She helped Allie pursue her interest in equine theriogenology by introducing her to colleagues at Woodside who shared similar interests, which led Allie to do an externship and senior year rotation at that practice.

Dr. Melinda McCall (DVM ’04) of Louisa, Virginia, was sworn in as VVMA vice president. She is an associate veterinarian at Louisa Veterinary Service and received the veterinary college’s Outstanding Recent Alumna Award in 2014. McCall is active in promoting agriculture in her community and works closely with 4-H and young farmer groups. She is also a past president of the Virginia Academy of Food Practitioners.

Four alumni who were rotating off of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Board were recognized for their service during the spring alumni board meeting.

Dr. Brett VanLear (DVM ’96) from Fishersville, Virginia, served on the board from 2007-2015 and is a past president. After working in mixed animal practice for two years outside of Roanoke, he moved to a family farm in Fishersville where he has an Angus cow/calf operation. He teaches in the Veterinary Technology program at Blue Ridge Community College and also does relief veterinarian work.

Dr. Scott Pleasant (DVM ‘84) was recognized for his service to the Alumni Board.

Dr. Scott Pleasant (DVM ’84) of Blacksburg, Virginia, is a member of the charter graduating class at the veterinary college. He served on the Alumni Board from 2009-2015. After four years in private practice, Pleasant completed a large animal surgery residency at the University of Illinois before returning to Blacksburg in 1991. He currently serves as professor of Equine Field Service and Equine Extension and director of the Equine Podiatry Service in the college’s Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.

Dr. Wynne DiGrassie (DVM ’96) of Steeles Tavern, Virginia, served on the Alumni Board from 2009-2015. A native of the Shenandoah Valley, she also completed her master’s degree and theriogenology residency at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. She then performed a one-year instructorship at Oklahoma State University. Dr. DiGrassie and her husband, Dr. Scott Reiners, opened Mountain View Equine Hospital in Steeles Tavern in 2003.

Dr. Matthew Nicholson (DVM ’99) of Haymarket, Virginia, served on the Alumni Board from 2009-2015. He completed an internship and surgical residency with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, spent two years as an associate surgeon with a New Jersey veterinary referral practice, and four years as an associate surgeon with the Veterinary Surgical Center in Northern Virginia. Dr. Nicholson joined Virginia-Maryland Vet Med as a clinical associate professor of surgery in 2009. He returned to the Veterinary Surgical Center in 2011 and, since 2014, has worked as an associated surgeon at Central Animal and Referral Emergency Hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Written by Sherrie Whaley.

Incoming slate of 2015-2016 VVMA officers are sworn in. (l-r) Dr. Keith de la Cruz, secretary-treasurer; Dr. Melinda McCall (DVM ’04), vice president; Dr. Peggy Rucker, president-elect; and Dr. Terry Taylor, president.